It’s that time of year no one loves: flu season. Many people take extra precautions to protect their families during this time, but what about your furry family. Well, it turns out they could also get sick. Flu season is upon us and during this time it’s important to not only take care of yourself, but your furry friends as well. Cecilia Dobbs Walton with the City of Biloxi Public Affairs said, “This time of year is flu season for everyone, even dogs.” The symptoms for K9 influenza are a lot like the flu that humans get, but the illness cannot be spread species to species. Veterinarian Dr. Chris Duke said, “It appears as symptoms that we can see, like a lot of sniffling, sneezing, and coughing. They will have a persistent fever most of the time and that translates into them not performing well, eating as well, and getting kind of lazy.” Dogs that spend a lot of time outside have a higher chance of getting the flu. “Dogs that come in contact with other dogs, to put it bluntly, if they are groomed, boarded, or go to dog parks, that type of activity, that’s when they might pick up the virus from other dogs,” said Dr. Duke. The City of Biloxi says it’s a great idea to get your dog vaccinated before heading out to the dog parks. “We just ask for anybody, when they come out here to bring their pets, be cautious, know the signs and symptoms of dog flu. If your dog is sick, it is your responsibility. I’m sure nobody would want their dog to get infected so please take precautions just as you would for yourself or any other children.” Over the past seven years, there have been two varieties of the K9 flu, but there is a way to help prevent both. “We now have a vaccine that covers both strains. That is pretty good news. We are keeping up with it,” said Dr. Duke. If you would like to get your dog vaccinated against the flu you can call your vet to schedule an appointment. The shots are usually around $45. “Vaccines are always where you start. Most illnesses we see less and less of as more and more dogs are vaccinated. I think that is the same thing as K9 influenza. You take them out of high risk areas and keep them vaccinated and even if they do come in contact with dogs you are not sure about, at least they are protected

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